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UNLVino Experience & Vegas Weekend

Is it hot enough for you all yet?  Las Vegas is in the 90's this week and is getting warmer!  So much for the beauty of Spring and a fantastic April, but I'm sure we'll make the best of it. Last week there were all sorts of adventures in town, but the definite highlight overall was participating in UNLVino.  Thursday evening I assisted my dear friend, Tawny who works with Terlato International (www.TerlatoWines.com) by helping her pour at the Bubblicious event at The Palms.  We started the evening with a quick bite at the bar at N9NE Steakhouse (www.N9NEGroup.com) -  fresh burrata with white asparagus and white anchovies was divine, an aged New York Strip was a perfect medium rare and the side of multi-colored cauliflower with hazelnuts was a wonderful Spring-time compliment.  Fortunately, we were enjoying a bottle of 2003 Terlato Angel's Peak, a Bordeaux style blend with just enough age and great balance to pair with the meal.

At Bubblicious we were pouring the Bollinger Brut (James Bond's favorite), Ca del' Bosco Cuvee Prestige Brut and the Langlois-Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut Rose (Bollinger's Loire property).  Obviously, the Bollinger was the biggest hit of the night due to it's popularity and well-known flavor profile, however the Cremant surprised many of the attendees with it's nose, full mouthfeel and reasonable price.

Friday my buddy Dan who works for Hess (www.HessCollection) flew in from Napa for the events of the weekend.  We were fortunate to start the evening off sampling some wines from his company's newest venture, Sequana Vineyards (www.SequanaVineyards.com), all Pinot Noirs - which are being made by James MacPhail, a true talent in Sonoma Pinot Noir and overall.  My favorite right off the bat was the 2007 Sarmento Vineyard from the Santa Lucia Highlands - not too much acid, great red fruits and a gorgeous perfumed nose.

We then continued to the Auss-Some and Then-Some event at The District, where Dan was pouring from three wineries from the Hess Portfolio - Peter Lehmann (Australia), Glen Carlou (South Africa) and Bodega Colome (Argentina).  It was a gorgeous Friday evening here in Las Vegas and all of the wines showed tremendously, however the big hit was the Colome, a Malbec with a little Tannat 8% and Cabernet Sauvignon 7% to round it out.  This wine comes from the highest vineyards in the world, starting at over 7,000 ft. above sea level.  Also, this wine was recently rated #38 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the World and it's an absolute bargain!  Go out and buy some now!!!

Post-event we headed back towards the Strip for a late-night bite over at BLT Burger (www.BLTRestaurants.com).  We caught up with my buddy J.P. who is the manager at one of my fast-becoming favorite restaurants in town.  I enjoyed a flavorful Turkey Burger with a side of Sweet Potato Fries and to wash it down a much needed pint of Hoegaarden White Ale.

Saturday morning we fueled the fire at a local breakfast spot, The Cracked Egg - definitely needing a good base prior to the 'main event'.  At UNLVino, being held at the Paris Hotel, Resort & Casino there were over 90 booths with over 350 wines represented.  Dan decided to pour a total of 11 wines from his porfolio with the Hess Collection, Glen Carlou, Peter Lehmann and Bodega Colome all represented.  The event starts with a 2-hour trade tasting and is then opened up to the general ticket holders for another 3 1/2 hours!  It is a wonderful fundraiser for UNLV and a great chance to taste wines that usually aren't opened in such settings.  Our most successful/favorite wine that we were pouring was the Hess Collection, Mt. Veeder 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - a true example of mountain fruit, a ripe vintage and care in both the vineyard and at the winery.  The favorite wine that I was able to sample when walking around was from Nickel & Nickel, their 2005 Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - powerful, rich dark color and what a nose!

Post-event we headed over to visit a good friend, one of the owners of The Dolce Group (www.DolceGroup.com), who had just opened his newest restaurant, Rare 120 at the Hard Rock Hotel.  When you're in town, be sure to come check out this modern take on the Steakhouse - it's a gorgeous room, offers up Prime Steaks (my 16 oz. New York Strip was tremendous) and is just a cool place.  I can't wait to head back and dine again!

Well friends, that's just a quick wrap-up of my UNLVino adventures, there are more stories but some of them I can't publish!  More to come very soon, lots more food and wine along the way - and remember, Keep Eating and Drinking!

blogCraig Nyman